Supreme Court Overturns DTH Decision Against PEMRA
The Supreme Court has overturned Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision against the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on DTH auction.
Back in 2016, LHC issued a verdict stating that PEMRA violated several rules when it auctioned Direct-to-Home (DTH). A DTH box allows customers to view channels aired within the country without any cable connection.
Background of the Case and Surrounding Controversy
PEMRA held the auction for DTH services in 2016 after getting the clearance from the apex court. The court gave the clearance on the condition that the DTH contract would be offered after the case concluded in LHC. The High Court in its verdict in December 2016 mentioned that PEMRA broke its own ordinance while holding the DTH bids.
Several companies and PEMRA challenged high court’s decision in the country’s highest court. The Supreme Court has now ruled in favor of PEMRA by annulling LHC’s decision and restoring the PEMRA rules under which the auction was held.
DTH Auction in Pakistan
PEMRA auctioned three DTH licenses for Rs 14.69 billion on 24th November 2016. The auction was held to control the airing of illegal Indian content and loss of money because of it.
However, the auction was done on the condition that no broadcaster would be allowed to enter the DTH market without prior approval. PEMRA said that this clause was reasonable as the cost of DTH would run into billions and only biggest broadcasters would be able to afford it, giving them significant control over the DTH market.
This condition was challenged in the high court which ruled against PEMRA. LHC, at the time, ordered PEMRA to hold the auction from scratch.